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Unread 08-24-2015, 02:25 PM   #1
arnav
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Master Bath Renovation

With this project basically done (just need to install a shower glass door) its time for the next project.

It's a master bath on a 3rd floor of a 10 year old town home. The shower failed a few weeks after we moved in about a year ago and has been out of service ever since. its a shame the home inspector missed it. After a few weeks a few tiles on the shower floor started to wobble and moisture and mold started to appear on the drywall next to the shower. I told the wife I am going to repair it and will keep going until i don't see any more mold. When she came to check on the progress after a few hours the entire shower was ripped out! The whole thing was beyond saving. The whole development suffered from the same issue. Pretty much every master bath failed the same way. Some were repaired, some didn't and remain unusable (which is a shame). How the builder got away with it is beyond me. Text book example of how not to build a shower. My untrained eye noticed at least 5 very wrong things. I think you'll enjoy seeing the failure points but first here are some overview pics taken right after the demo.
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Unread 08-24-2015, 03:00 PM   #2
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Failure point 1 & 2 & 3

1. I am not a shower CSI, but the white residue on the wall and pipes suggests to me that the shower head leaked or that the moisture barrier (fi-foil) was not effective in the way it was applied. The fact that for studs 1" x 3" (you can see it in the pic) and 1" x 1.5" were used as oppose to the common 1.5" x 1.5" studs probably didn't help either (since the drywall ends up resting directly against the copper pipes).

2. Greenboard was used (without even any topical liquid membrane on it). Need I say more?

3. The moisture barrier (fi-foil rolls) was overlapped but not taped which I think it means it wasn't really doing much of anything.
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Last edited by arnav; 08-24-2015 at 04:20 PM.
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Unread 08-24-2015, 03:16 PM   #3
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Failure point 4 & 5

4. No pre-slop. It seems like most pre-slops gets stopped on the GA-FL border....

5. The bench was made from aluminum studs and a plywood top covered with shower liner in a flimsy way as oppose to bricks inside the liner.
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Unread 08-24-2015, 04:09 PM   #4
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Failure point 6 - The porthole

The wall pics above clearly show the marks from the water coming down from the porthole. The wood that was holding it in place was completely rotten and I took most of it out (the pics were taken half way through).
There are nails going from the outside through the porthole to the wood inside which suggests water and moisture can migrate from the outside - inside. I have no idea how a porthole should be constructed but it just seems like a bad system. The interesting thing is that moisture and not streams of water took that side of the wall out. For the 1 year the porthole has been standing like that, I haven't noticed any water dripping through even when it rains like crazy.
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Unread 08-24-2015, 04:19 PM   #5
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So there you have it. Pretty disastrous huh?

With the previous project being a tub to shower conversion I had a pretty good idea of what i wanted to do. In this case I don't since it is pretty much a blank canvas (shower size, drain location, etc').

The first thing to worry about seems to be the porthole.

Do you think there is a way to fix it without taking it fully out?

perhaps:
- Take out ALL wood.
- Apply redgard in the cavity
- Fill it up with cement?

Don't know, just guessing.

I don't have access to outside of the porthole (being on a 3rd floor). Any resolution which would require doing stuff on the outside of the porthole would require hiring a construction company.

What do you think?

Thx
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Unread 08-27-2015, 08:02 AM   #6
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bump for any suggestions on what to do / how to fix the porthole?

I've searched and found many shower windows related threads in the forum. However. they were all square and extended all the way to the wall jambs.
Whereas my window seem to be different. It is connected to the jambs through a vertical panel in the front and the porthole itself doesn't touch anything (where the rotted wood was removed) and have nails through it.

Does the window have to be removed or can it be fixed in place?

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Unread 08-27-2015, 08:21 AM   #7
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Welcome back, Dan.

I think your thread is not getting a lot of comment primarily because we're a ceramic tile information site rather than a home repair site. The repair of that window is well beyond the scope of our forum, and while some of us would, and have, taken on projects like that, you're looking at part of a book to describe what might/might not need to be done there. And I'm sure there are books out there that might be helpful.
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Does the window have to be removed or can it be fixed in place?
That I can help with. There is no effective way to deal with that repair without removing the window. It being at a third floor level raises the stakes considerably, but does not at all change the requirements.

The window was clearly not properly weather-stripped on the outside when originally installed, and you can't tell for sure whether the framing was destroyed from within or without or both. Looks like same fella might have done the dry-in of the building and the shower.

I see a bucket lift or scaffolding in your future.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 08-27-2015, 08:44 AM   #8
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You describe it as a 'porthole', but rather than looking like a nautical metal porthole, it looks like just a round wooden window. I like the look of it in that space, if it were me I would contact a window supplier about getting a round vinyl window replacement, and let them look after the external/internal issues. All those pieces of wood around the perimeter, and all the nails are quite bizarre. Clean slate might be best.
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Unread 08-27-2015, 08:51 AM   #9
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Actually the window is not round. It is square with a protruding porthole inwards and it is all made out of metal. Basically take a sheet of metal, and stamp the port hole window in the middle of it. The square frame is embedded into the jambs or more likely perhaps on the outside of the cinderblocks and covered with stucco. A replacement would have to be square.

Does that make sense? Not sure if that changes anything. That's why I originally thought it can perhaps be fixed in place (by filling the void with cement).
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Unread 08-27-2015, 09:14 AM   #10
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Yep makes sense; but I would (if it were me) get a vinyl round window in a square frame, and have the window company intall it. It's what they do, and it seems like a simple solution to me.
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Unread 08-27-2015, 09:23 AM   #11
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np, ok. understood. will do.

Still got about a million questions. If they are out of the scope of the forum just let me know... Eventually I'll get to the tiling centric questions...

About that raised shower platform.





Can you think of a reason why it was put in place? For beauty reasons? For functional reasons? The crawl space underneath is 2 feet so there is plenty of space between the floors for plumbing without that raised platform.

For the few weeks we did get to use the shower we hated it. It was a major tripping and sliding hazard. The shower curb was diagonal and very close to the edge (so you didn't have enough space to put a mat down on that raised platform).

Do you see any reason why I can't take that platform out and have a an entire level master bath area?
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Unread 08-27-2015, 10:06 AM   #12
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I would suspect there is "mechanical" of some sort under there, Dan. Water, drain, electric, HVAC, whatever. But onliest way to know is to remove some subflooring.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 08-27-2015, 10:24 AM   #13
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Yes, that is the thing. I poked a few holes and it is empty (see pics)! The drain for the shower and tub goes through it, but nothing else.
I guess they did it thinking it adds an element of beauty
Ok, i will remove the rest of the plywood floor and we can take it from there.
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Unread 08-27-2015, 10:32 AM   #14
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There is two romex lines that goes through the shower wall Is that an issue? Water and electricity you know... The one that crosses the copper lines is for an outlet for the porch outside (see pics).

Should the vertical romex be moved to the other side so that it doesn't cross and come in contact with the copper lines?
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Unread 08-27-2015, 10:54 AM   #15
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Not if you're framing that wall out. It wouldn't hurt to sleeve it in something, but you could accomplish the same thing by stapling the cable to the framing once it's done so that it's not touching the water lines.

As long as there isn't movement of the cable and the sheathing isn't torn, you shouldn't have to worry about the two coming in contact with each other.
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